Jun. 23—Approximately 70 people attended the Central Alabama Pride event Thursday in Pell City according to organizer Cailyn Hill.
"I wanted to do this event because pride is important to all of us LGBTQ+ youth here."
Hill said she was most proud because her mom told her "you made history today and I'm so proud of you." She described that as the most rewarding thing she had been told about the event that featured karaoke, arts and crafts, bracelet making and local live music from bands around the area.
"I want to be the person to support them and show them they're not alone. There's a lot that goes into being LGBTQ+, they have some of the worst mental health because they are so afraid," said Hill.
Hill said she personally knows peers of hers who struggle to feel seen and accepted. After telling her own mother she is a part of the LGBTQ+ community, she understood how it fully felt to be worried about being disowned or disapproved of.
She hopes events like this will make those people see that although their family doesn't support them, they do have a community of others ready and willing to do so.
According to the Trevor Project, 73% of LGBTQ+ youth reported symptoms of anxiety and 58% reported symptoms of depression. 45% of LGBTQ+ youth have considered suicide.
Hill wants the event will become an annual occurrence and she can leave behind a legacy of acceptance after graduating high school.
Hill said she's already excited about beginning to plan for next year's pride event in St. Clair County.